Like an insecure starlet who keeps Googling herself, I'm always curious what other people think of our chosen Major League Baseball team. So I'm going through and selecting my favorite blogs from other NL Central teams (even though Astros County took some shots for the MLBTradeRumors link this past weekend for - God forbid - discussing the impact of other NL Central teams' moves on the Astros). Granted, if there was a post I would haved liked 1,889 people to see, that might not have been it. The sarcasm was cranked up to 11 that day, and it clearly didn't translate. However, for those of you who are new citizens to Astros County, I appreciate your navigating around and reading other posts.
Anyhow, I do like to read other blogs and one of my favorites is C70 At the Bat, devoted to the St. Louis Cardinals.
We are in talks to offer some shared content whenever our fair teams meet up this season, but as it stands, we discussed each other's teams. We asked questions, they answered those questions:
AC: (GM John) Mozeliak took some shots in a live chat not too long ago - what are your thoughts on him? Was Walt Jocketty such a great GM that nobody could come in and replace him?
C70: Mo has done a pretty decent job in his first year plus at the helm. He got rid of two declining icons and got probably more than they were worth when he dealt them off. Troy Glaus for Scott Rolen was particularly amazing given that most everyone in baseball figured he had to move Rolen, so he had little leverage.
Mo came up through the ranks, so he's got a lot of Jocketty's style about him. The biggest thing with him, though, is that he's trying to reconcile the scouting with the stats and it seems to be working so far.
AC: The Cards have come out and said they're trying to save a little money, like everyone else. Are they really just saving money to pay for Albert Pujols in a few years?
C70: Depends on which part of the fan base you talk to. There's the grumpy section (it's a definite minority, but it's not insignificant) that says Bill Dewitt is just saving money for Bill Dewitt. I'm not in that group--I think this ownership has done a good job of laying out payroll--but I know that the 2011 end of Pujols's contract weighs on just about everything that they do right now. There are few contracts that they've given out that reach past that time, with the implicit understanding is that they'll need some cash to resign the greatest hitter of our time.
AC: Was/is there any one player fans were hoping St. Louis would sign this off-season?
C70: I think the player that has gotten the most widespread support this offseason is Ben Sheets. The rotation could use another strong arm and Sheets, injury history notwithstanding, would make for a devestating rotation. A healthy Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright, Sheets, Kyle Lohse and Todd Wellemeyer would stack up with most anyone in the division.
A close runner up, at least for some people, was Brian Fuentes. With the Cardinal bullpen woes last season, many felt they needed that shut-down closer at the end of the game. They made a play for him, but wound up losing out more in geography than money, it appears.
AC: Which player on the Astros roster inspires fear in the hearts of St. Louis fans (as opposed to Lidgean levels of delight)?
C70: Ah, Lidge. Always wanted to see Albert against him with the game on the line. Anyway, I think the player that most people wouldn't mind seeing on vacation when the Stros came to down would have to be Lance Berkman. He seems to just destroy Cardinal pitching on a regular basis. Without him, the games would seem a little easier.
AC: What are your thoughts on the Astros in 2009?
C70: I've not done a lot of looking over the roster, etc., but it seems to me that the Astros are on the decline. As you noted in your responses to my questions, the offense is still fairly potent, but the pitching staff just doesn't seem to be there. Even Oswalt wasn't himself last year, though I'm sure that he'll round back into form for 2009. Some of the moves lately have been a little questionable and there doesn't seem to be a lot of farm talent on the way. That said, you never count the Astros out, in my book. They've been a very classy rival for the Cardinals the last decade and it'd be great to see that continue this coming season.
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